Category Archives: Art

My 5: Abandoned Farm and Chengwatana

The year anniversary of the South American soiree came and went last weekend. No hubbub, just ho-hum — with a slight sigh about how quickly six months can pass in a blink.

In the spirit of the trip, Pessa and I went on a day hike. A new place. A map. A pack with snacks. We stopped by an abandoned roadside farm on our way to snowshoe in the Chegwatana State Forest in Pine County.

With pealing paint, slate skies, a rare sights of a red hat , here are two My 5s:

My 5: Chengwatana



Respect your Hair-itage

My current obsession with facial hair might need a clinical diagnosis, but the boys and girls at Nike get me. They really get me.

They have introduced a line of T-shirts dedicated to Hall of Fame baseball players with outstanding ‘staches, fu manchus, beards, afros and dreads.

The best include Reggie Jackson, Ozzie Smith, Manny Ramirez and, of course, Rollie Fingers.

I don’t buy new clothes, but I need something to wear during the Twins World Series run this year. Overlooking the coming Casilla crash, melancholy over Morneau’s melon and being on the brink of bullpen blunders, I’m optimistic. So, here’s what I’m going to wear over a long-sleeve shirt in late October and early November.


That’s good, but these three are better.

The aviators make Mr. October’s the best T.

Still the gold standard

A crusty old sports reporter the Tank knows laments the fall of Sports Illustrated from top-notch sports journalism to little more than pop culture drivel.

While they have pop culture graphics and blurbs, they still produce great reporting, including recent stories about Aliquippa (Pa.) High School football, Jake Plummer and the investigation into crime in college football.

SI led me to this pop culture. The video is good, but not near the greatness of other Nike commercials/shorts.



A full beard is a sight I praise; proper documentation of a full beard is a sight I envy.

This video is from Carlton College student Corey Fauver and his posterity prowess. He’s just sharing the greatness of facial hair growth.

Two Noxious Numbers


The number of deaths of U.S. military personnel in Iraq and Afghanistan this year, according to a Star Tribune letter writer.

It’s easy to forget about the wars — and the Tank can be as guilty as the rest — but we should try and fight those omissions.


The estimated number of undernourished people in the world, according to the World Bank.

That’s about 1 in 6. A shocking number on the dire needs of this planet.


Give me your heads

Some Monday morning quarterbacking of newspaper headlines is a post-Super Bowl hobby of mine. (Geeky, I know.) Overall — like the commercials — the creativeness was pretty underwhelming. Too many generic headlines, and way too many “Pack on Top.”

Heads up

There were plenty of good ones, though. Some of my favorite were:

“SENT PACKING” from the Washington (Pa.) News Observer. Newseum had this as their favorite with “7 Can Wait” from the Beaver (Pa.) County Times.

Some honorable mentions: “RING FOURTH” from the St. Paul Pioneer Press, “A LOMBARDI LEAP” from the Minneapolis Star Tribune and “GOING GREEN” from the Naples (Fla.) Daily News.

My winners: “BIG CHEESY” from Red Eye in Chicago, with what I believe is some rightful bitterness. …  “RODGERS THAT” from the Houston Chronicle, with rightful credit going to the game’s best player.

Off with these heads

The worst in my book were the most generic. “SUPER!” CHAMPS!” have been done four billion times before, and “TOP OF THE PACK” could have been written by anyone — and by too many.

“TITLETOWN AGAIN” from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel was elegantly simple, but maybe too simple. Their outstanding layout made up for it.

The worst for me was “SAY CHEESE.” Besides the fact that it was in about every fifth newspaper, it was a dorkier pick than me writing about this dorky stuff. Unfortunately, my friends at the Duluth News Tribune went with this one. Fortunately, they made up for it with the best layout I saw this side of the Journal Sentinel.

Heady stuff, I know.


My 5: Guayasamin


Ecuadorian artist and icon Oswaldo Guayasamin was famous for his work depicting the poor and exploited people of Latin America.

¨For the children that death took while playing, for the men that weaken while working, for the poor that fail while loving, I will paint with the gun scream, with the thunder potency and with the eagerness of battle,¨ he was once quoted.

His work displayed in a Qutio gallery could have comprised a My 50, but here are five that stood out.

Titled: Tears of Blood

Titled: Potosi

Potosi is named after the Bolivian mine that was owned by the Spanish and worked by the Bolivians in the 16th century. In ¨Open Veins of Latin America,¨ author Eduardo Galeano wrote about how the mine used slave labor to bring billions of dollars to Spain, while the Bolivians worked for a pitiance and in awful conditions. At one point, the mine collapsed and scores died inside.

This powerful painting is overhead in the large domed atrium in the middle of the gallery. The mine´s workers are shown straining, struggling to get to the light, life.

Guayasamin died before Potosi could be completed. Could this unfinished work be a sign of the efforts still necessary for worker rights?

Turn out the lights

Today, I watched a man realize his job was gone.

As the editor walked out of the publisher’s office, his usual turbo-speed gait was mired in a sputtering gear. 

He hugged his successor and said, “Take care of them now.”

He said goodbye to some fellow editors and quietly packed a few things.

It was time to leave forever.

As he approached the door, he paused, sighed … turned out the lights to his office and shut the door.

His five years of leadership had abruptly ended that January Friday.

With the newspaper’s finance director escorting him out, he glanced over the nearly empty newsroom and waved goodbye to me.

I wanted to say, “You’ll be missed.”

Instead, I froze. Said nothing.

I had just watched a man realize his job was gone.


Coveted Cove

Dear President Obama,

The revealing documentary “The Cove” exposed the Taiji, Japan dolphin massacres and should receive the ultimate prize for such great investigative journalism — meaningful social change.

The documentations revealed the animal rights violations in the secretive and bloody slaughter that is clandestinely approved by the Japanese government.

These vicious harvests are part of an estimated 23,000 dolphins killed in Japan each year without acknowledgement of the U.S., U.N., or its sanctioned committee on the subject, the International Whaling Commission.

Ric O’Barry, the former trainer of Flipper, saw how organizations such as Sea World were paying fishermen in Taiji, Japan up to $150,000 for one show dolphin that is plucked from the pack prior to slaughter.

O’Barry became an activist and recruited a team to expose the slaughter from different angles and senses. As Louie Psihoyosa of the Oceanic Preservation Society said “we wanted to catch something that would make people change.”

With suffocatingly brutal imagery, the documentary showed how hundreds of dolphins are corralled in nets, speared and left to bleed to death. Then, their mercury-laced meat is fed to ignorant school children in Japan.

This must change.

The documentary quotes Margaret Mead as saying, “Never ever depend on any governments or institutions to solve any problems. All social change comes from the passion of individuals.”

Mr. President, show that institutions that you lead can provoke social change. This is necessary for our ecosystem and as reward for stunning investigative journalism.



[Send a letter to President Obama like I did. Be the change. Text “dolphin” to 44144.]